May. 12, 2019
What is Squarespace? Squarespace is a company that allows you to host your website on their servers. Squarespace provides templates that allow you to drop in your text, images (they supply plenty of stock, and licensed images), and other information allowing the user to create a website with little or no technical expertise. There is room however for "HTML" code to be embedded (the upgraded version allows iframes). To add in tracking and header SEO components, you're going to have to pay to upgrade your hosting package.
When you have a question about what you can and cannot figure it out on your own, Squarespace provides movies and help pages to clarify what is and what is not possible. Be prepared to spend some time learning the functionalities even if you have experience with WordPress, Wix, or other CMS platform. Forget about getting live help, the videos are certainly enough to get you to the right place, but you're going to have to do it on your own.
With WordPress, you can export your site and move all of your content, plug-ins, images, and theme. That is not the case with Squarespace, the "theme" is owned by Squarespace, and while they provide many quality images, those images are not going anywhere unless you save them from your pages to your device. In other words, if you want to leave, you're going to have to either "Scrape" your site or copy and paste all of your text and images. As for backups, Squarespace does this automatically, but it's designed for Squarespace to restore your website. Unlike WordPress where you can install a plug-in to backup and migrate your website to another hosting company, that is not an option. If you make changes, I suggest you first make a copy of the page and put it into the trash where it will stay for 30 days, that way you can always go back to your old version. Squarespace does not want you leaving and taking their "theme" elsewhere.
If you host your domain name ie, "www.robertfurst.com" with a hosting company such as GoDaddy, pointing your domain to the site is simple, and they offer connectivity for many of the larger domain name companies. Be aware though that you will be required to license a Google G-mail Suite if you plan on using your domain name email (there is some support for other email plans, I suggest checking first. Unlike regular hosting companies, the only way to control your email and other DNS settings with hosting through Squarespace are to "move" your domain name to Squarespace (actual hosting is from TuCows). There is a workaround; you can use something like Cloud Flare to point your website to Squarespace and point your email to a mail hosting company elsewhere. In the case of GoDaddy, they will allow you to control your email only if you License the email service through GoDaddy.
Something many people are not aware of is that when you select a template that template has certain rules about how text appears and which styles are available, how forms and pictures will display, etc. For instance, in the template, one of my clients uses the formatting of headers are only available in three choices, two of which are a different font and ALL CAPS. Forms and the actual boxes where the visitor types their information are also pre-designed as are other things like menu's where all of the text is in ALL CAPS with no spacers, gaps, or lines, between page titles.
Depending on your template you are limited to effects, and the way images appear. Unlike WordPress where you can load in lots of "Plug-ins" to add custom functionality. Not having all those choices is not a bad thing considering that a WordPress site's plug-ins need updating regularly and many CMS plug-ins are responsible for websites getting hacked. Squarespace offers plenty of choices to make your text and images stand out, and images can add special effects with relative ease.
As mentioned earlier backups are not under your control, and there is no clear way to get a previous backup, so making changes requires you copy the page and save it where the public can not view it. The reason is quite simple if you export your website, you don't need Squarespace, and they lose out because they invested in the template design.
Forms on the website are elementary to set up, and you can decide whether to send the results to a "single" email address or store the results on Squarespace for later download. If you need to set up multiple recipients, I suggest setting up an email account that forwards all emails to multiple recipients.
One of the nice surprises from Squarespace was that you have the choice of uploading your image or selecting from their collection of images including plenty of high-quality free images searchable by "keyword." What is different about this versus say WordPress is that it makes the photos available as you as if they were a part of your library, as you are selecting an image to place, so you can pick from their library or upload from your device at the same time.
I also liked the number of video's that help walk you through adding social links, functionality, and other ways to add and improve your webpage. Be aware the videos are extensive and should you have any questions watch the videos because that's the only way you're going to be able to figure out some of the "bonus features" that are available. Since most people don't work on their websites during traditional hours of customer service, having all the videos helps.
My recommendation is for people who like one of the templates, don't plan of making too many changes regularly, and are looking for an inexpensive hosting solution, Squarespace it's worth a look. Be aware you are limited in being able to move your current site and undoing requires making copies of pages before making the actual change if you want to be able to go back to a previous version. One personal recommendation, I would not transfer my domain name hosting to Squarespace, they outsource it to a third-party who in my opinion doesn't have a stellar reputation for customer service. If you decide to transfer the domain name hosting, they won't let you switch back for a fixed time should you be dissatisfied with your choice.